sunflower sagas

Saturday, 1 March 2014

I had great aspirations of making a sunflower fort for the kids [ok, and me] over summer, and boy, did I try. This was my romantic notion, thanks to Pinterest:

I started off by putting in some serious effort digging a ring-shape into the back lawn. My daughter and I designed it with a front entrance and a secret side exit, then planted the circle out with a mass of giant sunflower seeds. We were SO excited when they started germinating. Only to discover that so were the snails. And Dad's whipper-snipper. 

After a few more attempts at  direct-seeding we switched tactics to grow seedlings for planting out instead. That was all tracking along nicely until the crazy toddler tipped out the seedling trays. Repeatedly. 

Finally we had grown a batch of sunflower seedings which we planted out successfully. They grew! And then I realised, somehow in the midst of going back for repeat packets of sunflower seeds, I'd picked up a spindly knee-high variety instead of the giants. Wahhhhhh. Parental fail.

Even though the fort didn't work out, we did have success with some giant sunflowers in the vegie patch. They looked pretty magical with their plate-sized flowers, and were practical too - providing some shade to other vegies and acting as a natural trellis for our lebanese cucumbers.   

The giant sunflowers have died off now and we pulled them out over the weekend. I enlisted the kids to help harvest the seeds, which we can hopefully use to make the ultimate sunflower fort next year [I've gotta redeem myself!]. The seed harvesting was a really fun activity to do together - the sunflower heads have great patterns and textures, and there's something therapeutic in hanging out on the back lawn picking seeds. Check out the pics below, and my daughter's video, breaking down all things sunflower.      

Take care,

it's oh so quiet

Here's cheers to slow Saturdays - early morning vegie patch investigations with the kids, cooler mornings with the promise of sunny days, and pottering about the house. 

My toddler's been sick this week and we've ended up [not] sleeping with all four of us in the bed, works flat out and the place looks like a bomb went off. In one of those uber rare parenting moments, I have the house to myself for a whole morning whilst the kids go riding in the parklands with their grandparents and my husband works. 

Time to switch off the computer, put on some beats, drink coffee, and potter with my little shadow, Lotus.

Here's some slow Saturday inspo via Pinterest to set the tone, enjoy...


 sources: (top to bottom): Wit and Delight, Milo and Me, From the Right Bank,

My Darling Lemon Thyme, Freunde von Freunden, Geisslein, Gardenista 

nature play takes off

Friday, 28 February 2014

"...and above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you. 
Because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. 
Those who don't believe in magic will never find it. "
Roald Dahl

Nature Play seriously exploded in Australia this week with Richard Louv's series of talks around the country, the launch of Nature Play SA, Nature Play Qld and a heap of mainstream media coverage on the topic (check out The Project, ABC, and The Advertiser to name a few). 

So what is this nature play biz all about?

In a nut-shell, nature play = unstructured play outdoors in nature:
  • research shows nature is vital for children's intellectual, emotional, social, physical and spiritual health and development.
  • in the space of a generation, children in the developed world are spending markedly less time outdoors (attributed to a range of factors including increased screen-time, risk-adverse societies, urbanisation and less time for unstructured play).
  • today's more sedentary and technology-dominated lifestyles are occurring in conjunction with rises in childhood obesity, depression and attention disorders.
  • "nature-deficit disorder" is a metaphor coined by Louv to explain the correlation between increases in social, mental and physical health problems, and less time spent in nature.
  • globally, communities and individuals are rethinking the way they live, with campaigns and initiatives that promote and implement nature play principles taking off.   
my daughter getting a nature play fix in Mt Buller

I attended both Louv's Adelaide talk and a recent screening of nature-play movie Project Wild Thing and it struck me how much people are identifying with this. Both events were sell-outs - 400 people at Louv's talk and 300 at Project Wild Thing - and the rooms were buzzing with people from education, recreation, environment, architecture, planning, landscaping and government sectors (let me know if I've missed you!). 

Both events were thought-provoking and inspiring, pitched with a refreshing mix of concern, optimism and wit. Louv's talk, like his writing style, was totally engaging as he eloquently and creatively freestyled the whole talk. He was an energetic and upbeat story-teller who spoke to the heart and common sense. 

On the buzz nature play is creating, Louv asked the audience why is it that this topic is connecting with so many people?

I know this nature play space has captured me and my own reasons are multi-fold: the obvious one is I'm a parent and I want to provide the best I can for my kids. I instinctively know its right for them to regularly experience playing outdoors in nature, and I absolutely want to help facilitate that (especially given my 5 year old would  happily watch tv all day given the opportunity).

But it also goes further than that for me. The way I see it:
  • It's just as much about me needing more nature play in my own life - I need to reconnect after a few pretty manic years of raising a young family, working and having little time to myself.  
  • It instantly connects me with some of my favourite memories of childhood and provides the opportunity to share stories and relive those times with my kids and others.
  • My kids give me the opportunity to see life through a different lens -  it's so easy to get caught up in the craziness of modern living but if I can find ways to slow down and be properly present with them, magic can truly happen.  
yep, mum needs nature too

Over to you! What's your take on nature-deficit disorder and nature play? Does it strike a chord with you and if so, why? Please share your comments below.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

nature // street vision

think outside the [boom] box

         sourced via: 

word up

like a kid in a treehouse

I'm super excited to be able to hear nature-play legend Richard Louv talk at his sold-out Adelaide event tonight! 

His best-selling book Last Child in the Woods is an inspiring and thought-provoking read which "shows how we can improve our children's lives, and the lives of future generations, by opening the door to nature". 

There is a definite groundswell happening with the nature play movement and its coming from many different sectors of the community. Tonight promises to be an inspiring (and large!) meeting of people looking for change and I can't wait to see where it goes from here!

source: unknown (via Pinterest)
Stay tuned for a post-event blog post in the next few days! 
Take care, 

skinned knees

nature is imperfectly perfect, filled with loose parts and possibilities, with mud and dust, nettles and sky, transcendent hands-on moments and skinned knees…"

 Richard Louv

Giving my five-year old daughter a bath on the last night of the summer holidays, the two of us suddenly realised her shins were lined with bruises and her knees and arms bore an impressive collection of scabs. We talked about them being evidence of a super fun summer: that stack riding through the parklands with ‘Pops’, kayaking at the beach on Australia Day, swinging from the tree branch out the front.

my daughter kayaking with Pops over summer

A wave of pride and nostalgia caught me – this tanned, spirited little kid instantly took me back to my own childhood and the essence of what seemed like endless summer holidays.

I remembered my own skinned knees and the rough soles of my feet as I raced barefoot along gravel paths on long balmy nights. Afternoons spent climbing high into the old almond trees in the backyard. BMX riding with the neighbourhood kids and that epic stack my sister had when I tried to dinky her up a curb at full speed. The hours spent exploring the local urban creekline, daring ourselves to venture under the bridge and beyond the next bend...

Sunday, 23 February 2014

hello and welcome!

nature // street is on an expedition to invite more nature, simplicity and play into modern living. It’s a call to reconnect, explore and celebrate life in the urban jungle:  a fresh view on slowing down, conscious thinking and appreciating the little things in a busy world.

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